We take so many things for granted -- and water may be one of them. About 71 percent of the world is covered by water, but most of it is salt water. Less than 1 percent of fresh water is available for our consumption, according to Colorado-based The Water Information Program.
We bathe in it, play in it and we waste a lot of it. Most importantly, we drink it. In our culture, we've become accustomed to buying water, dressed in plastic bottles, by the case or filtering it at home.
It's amazing what we're able to do with water in the developed world, considering there are many underdeveloped areas without much access to fresh water.
We need it to live. In fact, we are water. Water comprises about 60 percent of the human body, and at birth, it could be as high as 78 percent. Blood is about 92 percent water. Water aids in digestion, regulates our temperature and protects organs. Now we can understand why it's important to drink it or eat and drink other things that are filled with water.
It doesn't take much to become dehydrated, especially during the summer months. We lose water in urine and feces and through the skin, lungs and sweating.
During exercise, hydration is critical. Water reduces stress on the circulatory system and keeps the body from overheating. And frequent water drinkers tend to lose more weight than those who do not, studies have shown.
As explained by exercise specialist Cassie Ebert, of East Texas Medical Center's Olympic Center, that midday slump or those supposed hunger pangs may be our body's way of telling us it needs water.
If you haven't made it a habit, drinking more water may present a challenge. Our culture has gotten used to drinking sweet tea, soda and coffee without a thought, so pure water becomes too boring. Those other beverages do provide our bodies with water, but with added sugar, salt, caffeine and artificial ingredients that could have adverse affects. We need the pure stuff as well.
Maybe you do need a challenge. It's one of our company's newest wellness challenges: drink at least 64 ounces -- eight 8-ounce glasses -- of water daily.
As for water's boring factor, there are ways to dress it up. I use sliced lemon. Other citrus fruits, berries, fresh mint, and cucumbers, when infused over several hours, also make water more appealing.
If you're seeking weight loss and/or want your body to function at its optimal level, you can't skimp on the water. And we're blessed to have so much access. Drink up.
Follow Staff Writer Coshandra Dillard on Facebook at Coshandra Dillard of theTyler Morning Telegraph and on Twitter, @cdillard_tmt.
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before the start of exercise
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
Source: American Council on Exercise
- Recommended consumption of water varies depending on gender, weight and activity level. According to the American Council on Exercise, women need 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, and men need 3.7 liters, or 125 ounces. Daily water needs can come from beverages, soups, smoothies, fruits and vegetables.